Friday, March 21, 2014

St Joseph Altar 2014

Virtual St. Joseph Altar
Unfailing Petition to St. Joseph:

Holy St. Joseph, Spouse of Mary,
be mindful of me, pray for me, watch over me.
Guardian of the paradise of the new Adam, 
provide for my temporal wants.
Faithful guardian of the most precious of all treasures,
I beseech thee to bring this matter to a happy end,
if it be for the glory of God,
and the good of my soul.

Note for all my Protestant friends: When Catholics pray to the Saints, they are asking them to intercede to God on their behalf.  We believe that the Saints in Heaven spend their eternity praying for us still here on earth and glorifying God with praise.

St. Joseph Altar Cake 2014

For our second annual altar we ordered our cake ahead of time from Aubrey's Bakery. This picture of St. Joseph is laminated so we can reuse it for future altars. The cake was half chocolate and half white. I LOVE Aubrey's frosting because it's not too sweet or too thick. It's a very light whipped frosting.

This year we held our altar at our church, St. Mary's Byzantine in Weirton, WV. We still kept it friends only.  When we looked “ahead” on the calendar and realized that we need to complete several projects during Memorial Day weekend we decided to invite all the young Byzantine families that we know, either from our church or some of the other close by churches. (Usually we have a picnic for all the young Byzantine families during Memorial Day weekend.) Unfortunately many of them already had plans so we still only fed 4 other families for a total of thirty-one on Sunday, March 16th.  We held the altar early since the actual feast day is our busiest day of the school and work week.   Jason kindly reminded me that last year we only fed twenty-two so that is a fifty percent increase when I was sad that the altar was so small.

Here is this year's altar in the church with partially eaten cake:  (We had fed our church members cake after the morning's Divine Liturgy.  I  tried to be careful cutting around the picture and words so they were intact for the altar):

2014 St. Joseph Altar at St. Mary's Byzantine Church, Weirton, WV

Close Up of Statues and Candles:

Holy Family Statue on Top Tier of Altar,
Infant Jesus of Prague, St. Joseph Icon and Our Lady of Victory Statue on 2nd Tier
Stations of the Cross Icon on 1st Tier

Here you can see our loaves of Italian Bread and 2 of the salads that had been brought.  We had one Greek one and one Artichoke:

Normally a St. Joseph Altar does not have meat because the Sicilian peasants really didn't eat meat back when the famine occurred.  We had a 23 lb turkey though that we had bought for the Epiphany party we never got to have due to coming down with the flu.  We served turkey and pumpkin soup.  Another family brought a lemon blueberry bundt cake.  There was also a pan of pasta with sausage that we forgot to take a picture of:

Here you can see the beautiful table runner and our "bouquet" of fresh oregano, along with the Stations of the Cross Icon:

So, Jason and I had forgotten to downsize our cake order a few days before the event when we realized that we were going to have less than 50 people and we also forgot to defrost the turkey ahead of time.  We cooked the turkey frozen according to these instructions, but it actually was ready five hours before the start of the party, so then we basted non-stop to try to keep it from drying out.  We also forgot to call the person in charge of doughnuts to let them know that we were going to serve they gave us leftover doughnuts to put on the altar.  The turkey was "falling off the bone" by being cooked frozen in the roasting pan with the lid on it-basically it acted as a slow cooker that kept all the moisture inside.  We also had (store bought) pizzelles and home made anginettis (Italian lemon cookies with Easter colored frosting and sprinkles.):

In this last picture of the altar we have our bowl of blessed fava beans and fried bread crumbs out to put on the pasta.  Another family arrived during the blessing of the altar and added a 3rd lettuce salad and bowl of fresh fruit:

We served wine, sparkling cider/juice and water for this year's drinks.

Here some of the children are watching Joey play a video game:

Here is Libby "cheesing" by the cake with one of her small stuffed puppy dogs before we served the church members cake:

I bought cheap play dough for the kids to play with.  Here we see most of the older teens getting their play dough fix as well.  Note for next year: either make home made play dough or buy the good stuff.  This cheap play dough smelled REALLY bad:

Here Libby and Anna are being amused by one of their favorite teenage friends:

Every time we turned around Anna was "attached" to him in one way or another:

We also printed several sets of St. Joseph coloring pages.  Here is Libby still having fun after being at church for almost five hours since Divine Liturgy was at 8:30am and the dinner started at 11am.  (We were going into hour six by the time we got everything cleaned.):

Libby and Anna went around handing everyone their blessed fava beans before they left and we also gave out some St. Joseph prayer cards.

One of the families already notified us that the day after they completed their
Novena to St. Joseph the self-employed father got a new client.  Talk about fast work St. Joseph!

Since we organized the St. Joseph Altar as a potluck and tried to use a Google on-line document for sign-ups we actually didn't have much for food leftovers-a small bag of pasta, salad and turkey is all we took home.  There were very few cookies left, but we still had a lot of cake leftover.  We have good friends that were not able to make it to the potluck because they were working at the
 Friendship Room Warming Center.  We were lucky to be able to donate the leftover cake for their use instead of having it go to waste.  Please consider donating to them either via food or by monetary donations.

Check out our 1st St. Joseph Altar here!

Here is the link to our Infant Jesus of Prague Thanksgiving Post

As we are now about halfway through Lent I pray that each of you are "fighting the good fight" and pushing through to the end.  Now is a good time to resolve to do better on whatever commitments and pledges you made for Lent.  If you didn't make any then start now.  Every day is a new day to grow in holiness and to live our lives for the glory of God the Father.

St. Joseph, pray for us!

I wish you the sweetness of perseverance in life,


Saturday, March 8, 2014

A Quiet Lent

A Quiet Lent:
Our Quarterly Check In

Our living room Olive Wood Crucifix (made in the Holy Land)
along with marbles and doll house dolls on our fireplace mantle.
Since we "flipped rooms" I really need to put some fabric or paint behind the crucifix so it stands out from the wood paneling.

Life has been one series of obstacles to overcome after another since Thanksgiving week of last year. We have had one set back after another, sometimes multiple events at the same time like a frozen water pipes, backed up septic system, broken washer and fridge with emergency car repairs while trying to get to a family funeral in Iowa.

But Lent is now upon us. A time of preparation for Easter-a time for renewal. A time to focus on what is really important-our faith in Jesus Christ-our Lord and Savior who sustains us through all things-good and bad.

This past January, just like in all previous years of home schooling, I went through the stage of, “Okay, what can I add to 'spice up' our home school year?”, because of course-it was me who was bored with our status quo-not the kids necessarily. So, I signed Jessie and I up for an advanced cake decorating class that was going to be held on one of those few evenings each week that we didn't have something else scheduled. It took my sweet twelve year old looking at me with tears in her eyes for me to realize that our already packed schedule was “just enough.” That what I really needed to focus on was just getting the kids through the curriculum we already had planned, thus I ate humble pie and dropped us out of the class.

So, when we planned our Lent activities, we kept that in mind, especially since a late Easter will overlap with our spring sports starting. As a family we chose seven things to focus on:

1. No meat on Mondays or Fridays.***

2.  Mondays: Pray Divine Mercy Chaplet-aim for 3pm start.

3.  Pray Stations of the Cross on Fridays, either at a local church or in our own home. (Last year we always did it at home after Jason and I both got home from work.
See Catholic Icings blog here for the way we added candles to this goal last year.)

4.  Sundays: only watch saint movies, documentaries or Christian related programming. Also, only read Bible or other religious readings.
(We just signed up for Pius Media dvd movie rental as an economical way to add more children's saint and bible videos for the little ones to the older movies that we already own. We will also be trying to order some dvds from the library as well. I wrote down a list of top rated Lent movies that we hadn't seen yet to try to watch: here, here and here are the 3 main lists I am working from.  Though they don't really have any animated films on them I just realized.)

This past Advent was when we put together our first Advent basket of religious books, cd's and dvds. This year is our first time for completing this activity for Lent as well. On the Sunday before Lent we organized our movies and put the religious ones all together in one place. I'm still trying to find where all our different religious books have spread throughout the house (or at least the ones I'm hoping we'll focus on this Lent), but already tonight Katie picked out a “Catholic Baby Board Book Bible” for us to read at bedtime. I'm planning on ordering some of the Easter Books from this list and this second list in order to add to our collection. Most likely the books will go into the Easter baskets, though I may put out one or two during Holy Week.

5.  Wednesdays: replace our family prayer hour at home with attending our church's Liturgy of the Pre-Sanctified Gifts, along with their alternate week Lenten soup meals.

6.  Saturdays: all day work on our family's St. Nicholas Project
(Last 4 Saturdays of Lent)

7.  Crown of Thorns: Quiet and usually unknown personal sacrifices.
(See here for the recipe we used this year.)

We put over 100 thorns in the crown and the goal is for each of us to break off several thorns each week when we “offer something” up to Jesus, like sharing a toy with a sibling that we don't want to do or when we refrain from saying something mean, or just sitting quietly with a child taking forever to do their school work. There are lots of blog posts out there about the practice of the crown of thorns. Last year we never got our crown made, and two years ago we ran out of time to get it painted gold with beads glued on during Holy Week for Easter Sunday, but we are an ever hopeful bunch that we might just “get it all together” this Lent:)  I made the dough and Jessie braided the 3 lengths of dough that Katie and Anna helped to roll out. Katie and Anna also helped us to put in the toothpicks before we cooked the crown so they were both asking to pull out a thorn while it was still cooking. (Libby was thankfully sleeping or else she would have been involved too.)

We each made personal goals as well. For instance two of the family members decided to give up desserts for Lent while I'm hoping to focus on a few organization projects that I hope will keep adding to our family's peace.

We're just five days into Lent and it's already been challenging. Three of us are fighting colds that are becoming sinus infections. Joey and Jessie also started off their Ash Wednesday with orthodontist appts. Jessie had an almost 1/4” gap between her front two teeth that closed up in less than 8 hours with the new brackets they added to her wire.  Needless to say, she's basically fasted the last two days away in pain.  It took a lot of perseverance for us to make it to (and through) Wednesday night's liturgy...but no one wanted to not make a family goal just three days into Lent.

I write all this not to brag about our Lent plans, but as an encouraging post. I know I am always looking for “new inspiration” or ideas on what how to make this or that better in our family life.  But sometimes the tried and true are the best things to do. Each family has it's own rhythm and uniqueness, what works for me may not work for you.  This past year I've really been quietly fighting within myself about getting the kids to more (or different) activities...but God keeps “closing those doors.”  He keeps focusing me on our quiet home life. Reminding me of St. Thomas More's quote,

The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest.”

I have to keep focusing on the fact that we are NOT a town family. We live 35 minutes from town, so I shouldn't feel the need to “keep up” with all the other families in having my kids attend this religious activity or a different one. I also work anywhere from 2-20 plus hours per week, so that cuts into our family time. We also still have 3 little ones who need consistency in their lives, which is hard to do when one tries to run older children to evening events. Right now, I just keep finding that “less is more” for peace in our home. There may come a time when youth group is important, but for right now, home as a family living a liturgical prayer life is way more important.

So, from the late night stillness of our home I wish all of you a blessed and quiet Lent. May you find yourselves drawing closer to our Lord each and every day.

May you feel the gentleness of God's sweet mercy each and every day in your homes and personal life,


***As Byzantine Catholics we received a special dispensation to switch our meatless fasting from Wednesdays to Mondays.  We will be saying extra prayers on Wednesdays as part of our dispensation.

Financial disclosure: I do not make any money from any of the above links that I linked to.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Why the Quick Exit?

Why the Quick Exit?
Within the past week three high executive bankers have all committed suicide.  I've been asked to give my commentary on the situation.
Economies run on one thing and one thing alone: trust.  People must trust in the value of the money, trust in the loans being made, lenders must trust they will be paid back, trust that the balance sheets say what they say.  When trust leaving economy, when it leaves the political and economic institutions of that society the economy end.  The question to ask right now is do the people of America trust their political and financial leaders?  Do the people of other nations trust their political and financial leaders?
Link here is a wonderful video "How An Economy Works, In 30 Minutes".
For those of you that want the cliff notes version and the points that are most critical about what is happening today here you go.
When you use credit you spend more then you have today and create a future version of yourself that has less money because that future self has to pay off the debt.  If you make $100 a day but  today you spend your $100 plus $100 of credit you create $100 of debt and a futures self that is $100 poorer because has to pay the debt. (not counting interest)
Now if that debt makes you more economically productive the debt pays for itself.  If not it just makes your future self poor.  This is true for people, business and governments.
Because of the credit markets we have debt cycles.  Time when people can borrow a lot (booms) and times when people have to pay their debts back. (Busts or recessions). This is the short term debt cycle and takes roughly 5-10 years.
The short term debt cycle takes place on a long term debt cycle (LTDC) that lasts 80 - 100 years.  What needs to be noted here is that the crest of the borrow phase of the LTDC to the trouth of the "call on all debts" phase only take 2-5 years of that 100 year cycle.  That is a very fast decline.  This process is call "deleveraging". They are times of great upheaval, suffering, and war.  The video give several historical examples.
What else do you need you need to know?  
Fiat Currency
This is one many of you maybe familiar with and will not spend a lot of time on it.  The value of our currency is not backed by gold, silver, oil or any tangible asset.  It is only based on trust.  Note: every world currency is a fiat currency and they are all tied together in various fashions through the Brettenwood agreement. Please also remember that every fiat currency in history, without exception has failed.  (On average a fiat currency has a 40 year life cycle... The dollar became fiat under Nixon)
I would argue that the degree of deleveraging we are looking at is greatly out of wack for two reasons 1) the engorged credit markets and 2) we are over do for a normal deleveraging.  Several time when the markets would have deleveraged to a healthy level it was interrupted by various Keynesian schemes. Instead of a managed decline and healthy recovery we were pushed straight into a new bubble.
Another critical point that must be recognized is how the world markets are moving together. Since 2000 the marked have become more synchronized and since 2008 are nearly lockstep... i.e. globalization will give us global deleveraging.
What to expect:
In the past few months I have become familiar with the work of Mike Maloney.  Here are three poignant video to our discussion I could find from Mr. Maloney.

Predictions Come True From 2005 | Mike Maloney (16 min)

Fed to Explode QE Next Downturn - Can't Control Velocity (7 min)

Deflation, THEN Inflation (3 min)

Here is the cliff notes
This is a little off topic but Mr. Maloney covers it... when a fiat currency/and credit is in retreat or dying people cling to commodities, what they can hold.   What commodity has the most value for its size, will not rot or corrode, can be divided and not lose value, has a stable  supply, and has been used as money historically? Gold and silver.
The point we need to pay attention to that Mr Maloney gives us is this. Deleveraging is deflationary ... as credit fails, cash is king.  People will only part with cash when they find the best price.  This causes prices to fall.  To stem the deflation money will be pumped into the system. And here is the problem... while that has "worked" before (see above: trends). We are at a point of critical mass.  The money printing to stop the deflation will lead to a collapse in trust and ultimately currency collapse and/or hyperinflation on a global scale.  Mike Maloney called this more than 10 years ago.
Why the quick exit?
Setting aside all thoughts of clandestine meetings and a cloak and dagger world. The markets have been moving into a retreat which I believe if the beginning of this deleverging period and given the gross instability of the global markets, possible systemic collapes collapse.
I hope I am wrong
Jason Rivers

"I am of an older fashion, much of what I love has been destroyed or sent into exile."       - G.K. Chesterton

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Frugal Kitchen Remodel Post #2

Commercial Restaurant Stove Hood above electric and wood cook stoves
I truly never meant it to be this long in between posts.  Besides the remodel, running our store, homeschooling, the farm and Creighton Model FertilityCare appointments, Jason and I have been working on a very special project that hopefully we will be able to announce soon.  In the meantime I couldn't justify anytime writing on my blog that was "free time" that I could be working on the St. Nicholas project (code name for our special project.)  When we (hopefully) can announce in the near future our exciting news this will all make sense.

This blog post is picture heavy, so be forewarned.  I am rewarding your patience:

Commercial Restaurant Stove Hood
So, we finally have a hood!!!!  Sometimes the hardest part about trying to complete any project frugally is the patience to wait.  I have to admit that I was about at my wits end when my husband finally announced in September that he had found a hood that was long and wide enough to fit over the two stoves we now have in our kitchen.  We needed a hood that was at least 6 feet long to cover both the electric and wood cook stoves.  When we priced checked at the local box store the biggest hood we could purchase was only 48" long and priced at $1400.  By the time you add the width we needed for the hood we were looking at thousands of dollars.  Jason's Craigslist searches began.  He finally found this commercial restaurant hood brand new for $250 plus the gas money and time to drive two hours one way to pick it up.  The hood had originally been installed in a restaurant that never opened because the owners ran out of money.  The landlord needed to clear out all their restaurant equipment so that he could prepare the space for new renters-praise God!  It was our lucky day!

Top wooden beam anchored into fireplace wall
We traded services with a contractor friend who helped Jason install this hood two weeks ago.  (Again-patience is a virtue.  We stored the hood in the barn for a month.)  While it is massive it weighs under three hundred pounds.  I will be the first to admit that you couldn't have a hood this size in a standard size kitchen, but we have 12 foot ceilings in this brown box awkward shaped room that was added onto our 1860's built farmhouse back in the 1960's....back when brown panelling was all the rage.  This room doesn't have a single window.  In fact we installed the light kit on the ceiling I guess everyone just plugged in floor lamps for forty years.  Maybe they just liked the darkness...maybe they just liked "mood lighting" is a mystery I shall probably never understand.  I personally like lots of light.  I must say that this room works much better as a kitchen than as our living room.

The room also has these brown beams as "decorative accents," except they are not that pretty-yet.  Thus, Jason and Rich were able to use one of the beams when deciding how to anchor the hood.  They attached two 2" by 6" eight feet long wood braces to the fireplace, that you can see in that previous picture.  The 4" by 4" eight foot long wooden bottom beam is used as a ledge to place the hood on.  These two boards are anchored to the fireplace by fifteen different bolts.  The above brace then has two wooden cross pieces that run above the hood to attach to the wooden beam.  These wooden cross pieces were actually made by screwing together 2" by 6" eight foot long boards.  They were then anchored to the decorative beam with tapcons.  Chains were then used to attach the hood to the cross pieces.  Jason and Rich swung around on the beams to make sure that the beams were strong enough to hold the hood.  (Unfortunately I wasn't around to see that-otherwise I would be posting pictures of the men playing around!)  Rich informed me that these beams are so strong that if I wanted to we could tear out the kitchen and make the room a garage.  He said that these beams can be used to lift engines out of cars.  I think I'll stick with the kitchen!

Cross beams attaching to wooden "decorative beam"

Front side of hood and cross pieces

Back side of cross pieces and hood attaching to fireplace

The fireplace bricks are so hard that Rich actually melted a heavy duty drill bit when trying to drill into a brick.  He said that he has never seen that happen before in all of his years of carpentry.  After that they just drilled into the cement between the bricks.  Eventually all these wooden pieces will be stained to match the rest of the room.  For now-the hood is installed!

We actually found out the hard way four years ago about how hard those bricks were.  That was the year we bought our first wood heat stove (that now resides in our bedroom suite.)  Jason began trying to break through the wall and it literally took him a month of weekends to be able to chisel out the bricks.  He made it through the first level of bricks only to find out that there was a second brick wall before we could reach the actually chimney liner.  The only thing that we could surmise is that we had been told that back in the 1980's or 1990's there had been a chimney fire and therefore they must have bricked up the entire wall to cover up the burnt bricks.  Jason had to chisel through 18 inches of bricks before he could intall the stove pipe.

Bottom Ledge Beam, Stove Pipe going into 18 inch hole to reach chimney
The silver frame of the hood reflects the light and is actually helping to "lighten up" the room.  (I greatly appreciate that since I long for cream walls.  This room can get really depressing in the winter.)  Once we survive the busiest time of year for our business, which starts next week and lasts until around Epiphany in January, Jason and Rich will connect the electrical so we will have lights and our exhaust system.  These lights will also help to heat up this massive room when we use them.  One more motivation to cook besides the stove heat-Or not cook in the summer time!

Hood Lights above the stoves

The exhaust fan is so big and powerful that it will actually be attached outside of our room on our deck.  The motor of the exhaust fan is 1/4 horse power!  Here is a picture of the electrical and (possible) water attachments.  (I could only dream of a pot filler!  I do miss having the stove closer to the sink to drain pasta, fill pans with water, etc.)  Oh, well-I get my exercise!

Back underside of hood, where the exhaust and water system will hook up

Here's another view of the hood and cross beams.  It just needs all the fingerprints cleaned off from our male friends that helped carry it into the house to lift it into place.  Three more friends stopped by after church to help lift it into place and attach the chains.
Beautiful Hood

Ikea storage unit with butcher block counter
The other piece that Jason did complete for the kitchen was this Ikea storage piece.  We bought this piece from a friend who was moving several years ago.  I honestly don't remember how much we paid for it, because we bought a lot of stuff from them at that time.  (Again, patience is a virtue.  This piece was in storage for several years until Jason decided that we finally had enough stuff in place-and the time-to attempt this remodel.)  It came with a gorgeous black laminate top that just didn't fit with our vision for this room.  Jason changed out the counter for the matching butcher block.   I left everything on the counter the way it normally is: Jessie's baking items (mixer, purple cake decorating items), bread/cookies/fruit bowl.  Joey and Jessie normally have their computer plugged in here since its battery doesn't hold its charge.  The gorgeous clear pitcher in front of the purple cake decorating kit was painted by Jason's mom Debbie.  I just haven't gotten it back into storage yet on top of another cabinet. 

Inside the Ikea cabinet-we added the shelf that bent.

Jason added a shelf for storage that bent when I placed the crock pot on it.  Therefore he flipped it over and I just store little pots and the rice/veggie steamer on it.  As you can see we store the cooking items we use the most and our oils/vinegars/rice crispies for making rice crispie treats, etc.

2 stoves plus another storage piece
Please note: we have not started using the wood stove for heat-thus why our oil bottles are sitting on top of it from cooking on the electric stove.  We know not to have oil bottles on a working wood stove.

If you remember from my original post I showed the blue and white hutch that had all my spices/teas, etc.  (The hutch is next to the Ikea cabinet I just talked about in an above picture.)  This is the third piece that we bought with that hutch for a total of $75.  Jason added this backsplash that he bought at a box store and then antiqued with paint so that we don't lose our potholders, oils, etc from falling behind onto the fireplace.  This piece has been used all the time for six years and does need to be repainted.  Whoever originally painted it didn't seal the paint with wax, so it definitely shows all its dirty/worn spots.  Plus we could probably just clean it sometime as well:)

Painted storage piece with backsplash

Close up of backsplash, Panelling is damaged in that spot.
Someday it shall be painted:)

Here is where our wood and newspaper starters for the wood stove will be stored this winter-under the table that Jason got for free from a church.

Baking table with wood/newspaper storage

One of my frugal Goodwill purchases in August was this bench.  I bought it for $20, which is kind of funny since I only paid $10 for the larger bench we have on the side.  This bench fit the side of the table perfectly though.  Anna usually sits here, but the other night I noticed that Joey and Jessie can both sit on the bench side by side-and it doesn't tip easily.  It's balanced much better than the large bench.  If you sit too closely to the end of the bigger bench it can start to flip up like a see saw on a playground.  The top of the bench actually got a small tear on the way home when it caught on something else in the truck.  I started to cry...don't you hate when that kind of thing happens?  My goal is to someday eventually cover both benches with matching red material.

Frugal $10 Goodwill piano bench-used as a table bench now

Last, but not least, my solution for keeping the plastic food storage containers somewhat organized is to use diaper boxes/wet wipe boxes.  First, we cleared out our overflow and put them into storage until we need them.  (I'm talking in a box in the garage since we are forever breaking containers and/or giving them away when we make meals for those in need.)  I will probably add another box or two so that I can organize water bottles and a few of the other pieces as they get washed from being used in the fridge...I may even one day cover the boxes with pretty paper.  Debbie has volunteered to make me a curtain for this space that doesn't have a cabinet door, but I just haven't decided exactly what I want yet.  The reason why it doesn't have a door is because this piece was originally a corner piece, so it had another counter/cabinet in front of that empty space, connecting to it in a "L" shape.  That's also why the handle and hinges face the left instead of the right on that lower cabinet door next to the storage space....maybe someday Jason will switch that more thing for his never ending "Honey To do  List."

Free cabinets Jason painted

Diaper and Wet Wipe boxes as plastic container storage

Remember how I quoted, "Patience is a virtue?"  Well, that is definitely true.  My biggest pet peeve right now is that the Salvador Dali painting is still not centered above the sink.  (Jason just used the nail that was there from a painting that had been centered over our couch, so that the Dali was up on the wall for my arrival back in July.)  But I've decided that I want to be happy rather than sometime in the next year I will probably "block off" a picture hanging day and the Dali will get centered.  I personally don't want to be the person straddling the sink to move the painting so I can wait.  (Ignore all my dirty and clean dishes!)  I decided to write this blog post instead of cleaning for the blog post-priorities people!:)

Salvadore Dali painting-still not centered over sink:)
For anyone wondering we are still under $1600 for this remodel.

This is what I have figured our approximate expenses to be:

$312.98 Ikea sink
$180 Faucet bought off Amazon for 1/3 of the Ikea price...Plus, it has the sprayer feature!
$60 Sherwin Williams paint for cabinets
$160 Ikea butcher block counters (now discontinued)
$250 for the Commercial Restaurant Stove Hood
$30 Backsplash, caulk and sealant
$80 Wood, Chains, parts for attaching stove hood
$80 tank of gas to pick up stove hood
$150 services traded with our contractor friend for intalling stove hood
$120 Plumbing (with lots of pex pipe leftover for other projects)
$100 for misc Lowe's expenses (cement board behind cabinets, paint drop cloths, etc)
$10 for the blue bench from Goodwill

Note: We reused kitchen counters and received other free kitchen counters from another friend who remodeled their kitchen this summer.

Total so far: $1532.98

I probably won't post any more about the kitchen until we have something new to report.  I'm not expecting Jason to get the exhaust installed until closer to February.  Hopefully at that time he will get the doors attached to cabinets next to the stoves.  He wanted to try out the "open shelving" look that you see in so many blogs/magazines.  I am totally NOT into open shelving.  I don't like having to wash the dust off the pans before I (or Jessie) bakes.

Awesome Frugal Hood

The coziness of aprons, baking items and Thomas Kinkade
Though this wall needs a much larger painting....patiently waiting for that!

Thank you for patience-and for checking back!!!  Please pray for the success of our St. Nicholas project.

You can read Frugal Kitchen Remodel Post #1 here.

Wishing you peace and warmth this chilly November,

From the Sweetness of our Home to yours,


Linking to:

My Romantic Home

Friday, August 2, 2013

Debbie's Crafts and a Craft Show Weekend

Set of 2 Black Wine Glasses painted by Debbie
My mother-in-law Debbie is an amazing artist.

She will be selling her glassware and other crocheted crafts at a craft sale in Weirton, WV this Saturday, August 3rd from 9am-4pm.  The craft show is at the Voice of Pentecost Church, 106 Mendenhall St, Weirton, WV, 26062.

Set of 4 Blue Wine Glasses painted by Debbie
This is another set of wine glasses that she will have for sale.

Crocheted Cast Iron Pot Holders

Debbie came up with crocheted cast iron pot holders since I was always burning myself when cooking.  She's even made some "double potholders" for the cast iron dutch oven pans that have a small handle on each side of the pot.  We usually have these items at our coffee stand at the farmer's market, but Debbie is taking these to sell this weekend.

Ouchie hot/cold bags
One of the first things that Debbie made for the kids and I were "ouchie" bags for all their scrapes and bruises.  She even makes really large ones that are amazing to heat up!  I used them all the time for that certain time of the month.  I still use them when I have extra back pain/bladder issues.  She has ouchie bags made in both fun kid prints and more feminine colors.  You could even order some in manly colors for those men in your life!  (If she doesn't have any large ones with her, you could place an order for those as well!)

A Wine Basket

Debbie has been working on some baskets for those looking ahead to the holidays or fall weddings.  Here are some green wine glasses already wrapped in a basket.  She even found cute cordial wine glasses.  The following set is my favorite:

Cordial Wine Glass Basket Set

Though I might have to fight some of you for the following green tinted glasses with purple flowers! (Afterall purple is my favorite color):

Light Green glasses with Purple Flowers
 Though these pink tinted ones are gorgeous as well!

Pink Tinted Wine Glasses with Pink Rose Buds

Debbie whips up crocheted items whenever she "relaxes" in front of the television.  Each of the little girls have different versions of the following bear:

Crocheted Brown Stuff Bear by Debbie

We sell a lot of Debbie's finger puppets at the farmer's market as well:

Crocheted Finger Puppets by Debbie

One of her other creative items are "Beanless Buddies"-these are former beanie babies stuffed with catnip for your cats' enjoyment.  I could smell the catnip in them when I took them out of the storage bags she has them stored in.  Your cats will LOVE these things!:

Beanless Buddie Cat Toys by Debbie

I will post more of Debbie's crafts in another blog post this fall.  Feel free to contact me if you would like to place an order for presents-either for a loved one or treat yourself!  If you go shopping this weekend, let Debbie know you found her via this blogpost.  As long as you are in Weirton, you should also check out the amazing TCA Consignment Sale that I blogged about earlier this week!

At some point we will probably try to get an etsy shop set up for Debbie.  It's just hard right now because she doesn't have internet in her house and she is working full time at the nursing home that we were blessed to find for her mother, Grandma Mercy.

Wishing you the sweetness of warm August Days and a blessed summer month,


Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TCA Consignment Sale

Red Dress Coat from Consignment Sale

So, as our recession digs deeper and taxes grow higher I rarely buy brand new items anymore.
I "accidentally" missed my turn three years ago and while turning around I saw a sign advertising the TCA Consignment Sale.

It has helped make being frugal so much easier!
Twice a year I can shop for name brand clothes, shoes, books, toys, furniture, etc, all in one location!  (For those needing baby items, like strollers, cribs, etc, this is the place for you as well.)

In fact for the previous two years I have actually had all my Christmas shopping for the five kids completed after the Pre-Sale for Consignors.  It has made Christmas time with our busy retail store so much easier!!!  I didn't have that luck this year, but we did manage to find some more Scooby Doo items for Katie's birthday theme and Dora the Explorer/Diego for Anna's September birthday.  (Now we just have to make the cakes-and remember to wrap items earlier than five minutes prior to the time I want them to open them!)

Polka Dot Church dress for Libby

I meant to get pictures of all the things I was consigning plus the actual gymnasium, but forgot to do so.  I also forgot to get pictures before the big kids put all their new clothes away.
Here's a few of the items that I got for the younger kids though.  (Because every girl needs a few dresses that aren't hand me downs from her big sisters, of course.)

3 more dresses for Libby

I am having trouble with my other pictures downloading tonight, but they have more than just clothes.  We bought three video games tonight.  In the past we have bought dvds and a video game system.

We also invested in new backpacks.  Jessie is excited about her latest backpack-both Katie and Anna commented about how pretty it is when they saw it as well!

Jessie's "new" backpack-in excellent condition

Unfortunately, unless we end up finding the box of size 11 and 12 shoes packed away in storage, I may have to end up buying new shoes for Katie.  No one was selling that size of shoes this week at the TCA Consignment Sale, but we did score a pair of black cow girl boots for Jessie for $4.00.  (If I do have to buy new shoes because I can't find used ones at any of our local resale stores, I will shop at the Payless Shoe Store first: best deals in town plus they give a military discount of 10% on top of their sales.)

So, grab your rubbermade containers, laundry baskets, thirty-one totes and reusuable shopping bags and/or empty boxes and head over to the TCA Consignment Sale for some back to school/winter clothing deals.  (They do have some laundry baskets you can shop with, but there is a limited number so the baskets may not be available if there are a lot of people shopping.)

If you go and like what you see, remember that consignors get to shop first so sign up to sell stuff at their April  spring sale!  Remember that all that hard work of tagging stuff goes to help give financial scholarships for students in need to get a Christian education and to support the Tri-State Christian Academy.

The TCA Consignment Sale is located at: Mercy Baptist Church, 3474 Pennsylvania Ave, Weirton, WV 26062.  The 2013 Back to School Sale hours are: 9am-3pm both July 31st and August 1st, 9am-7pm August 2nd, and from 9am-3-pm on August 3rd-when many items will sell for half price.

Nothing to disclaim: This is not a paid endorsement.  Nor do I get an extra percentage of my sales-same 60/40 split on all items I sell.  I am simply a happy consignor and shopper!  I greatly apologize that I didn't have better pictures-hopefully next time!

Wishing you the sweet joy and excitement associated with the beginning of a new school year,